Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More Wild Photos Of The Nation's Week Of Extreme Weather

You name it. Tornadoes. Fires. Floods. Hail. Dust. Sandstorms. Snow.
From @basehunter via Twitter. A scary, spinning supercell
thunderstorm that was producing an EF-4 tornado in
Louisville, Miss. on Monday. Add caption

The nation has been clobbered by extreme weather this week, and photos and videos of the chaos are continuing to surface.

This post contains a few more of the disaster movie type scenes we've seen this week.

This post contains a few more examples of disaster movie type scenes we're seeing this week.








A collapsed garage in the Florida panhandle after
epic flooding early Wednesday.

















From @bearlysoberrr on Twitter, flooding inside Pensacola
State College on Wedneday. 

















The opposite extreme: The aftermath of high winds
and a dust storm in Kansas this week, via @kkqtopeka on Twitter.

Fascinating Satellite Loop Of This Week's Big Tornado Outbreak

Here's what this week's two day outbreak of tornadoes looked like from space. It's fascinating and horrifying to watch the big tornadic thunderstorms blossom, eventually die out only to be replaced by more tornadic storms.

The tornadoes killed 35 people from Arkansas to Alabama.

Tornado Outbreak Ends; Transitions To Incredible, Extreme Flood

The big tornado outbreak that killed 35 people in the United States since Sunday is winding down, though there might be a few more twisters in the Southeast today.
Downtown Pensacola, Fla. flooding last night, via @pnj on Twitter.
Add caption

That's the good news.

The very bad news is the storm has transitioned into one that has caused extreme flooding along the Gulf Coast.

Incredibly, 23 inches of rain has fallen on Pensacola, Florida in just over 24 hours. (That amount of rain is what we'd normally expect over eight months here where I sit in Vermont.)

Water up to the doorknob inside
a Pensacola, Fla. home last night.  
At one point, 5.24 inches of rain came down in just 45 minutes. Large swaths of the Gulf Coast have gotten 10 to 25 inches of rain since yesterday. As you can imagine, the flooding is incredible.  

Downtown Pensacola and Mobile, Alabama are flooded, there were many, many water rescues. Traffic jams extended for 16 miles on flooded Interstate 10, the major east-west corridor in that neck of the woods.    

It was still pouring on the Gulf Coast as dawn broke this morning.  Lightning has been incredible, too. We don't have a full accounting of rainfall in Pensacola because lightning hit the National Weather Service station.

At one point in the southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, there were 9000 lightning strikes in 15 minutes last night.

The flooding is likely to extend up the East Coast today as the very wet feed of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico rides north.

The inside of a flooded home
in Pensacola, Fla. last night.  
While nobody in the Mid-Atlantic states to New England will get 20 inches of rain, several inches seems likely in several spots.

Flood watches extend from Georgia to New York and southern New England.

Funny, practically the only place that's getting off without much trouble in the eastern half of the nation from this storm is up where I live in Vermont.  At worst, we'll get minor field flooding from the rains over the next couple of days.

And the rain will extend the minor flooding that's going on now along the shores of Lake Champlain.

Somehow, I worry the other shoe will drop for us up here in northern New England at some point.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More Tornadoes Spread Death, Destruction Monday. Even More Today

From early afternoon Monday on through most of the night into early Tuesday morning, tornadoes continued to terrorize much of Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Tennessee.
From @wxRachelle via Twitter. An ugly storm
Monday in Mississippi  

The National Severe Storms Center counted 80 reports of tornadoes, and 11 deaths occurred, on top of the 16 from Sunday's tornadoes in and near Arkansas. 

I can't imagine what went through the minds of people when they saw on TV that a massive tornado would hit their house in 10 minutes and they had to take shelter. What did they think knowing everything they own would be gone in 10 minutes?

The power of tornadoes is incredible. These twisters prove the point. The tornado that hit Tupulo, Mississippi lofted debris from destroyed buildings 25,000 feet into the air.

 A door fell from the sky and landed on the Mississippi State University campus, from a tornado that was passing by 30 miles to the south.

Another terrifying storm in Mississippi Monday.  
Incredible.

There were a few turns of good fortune, or at least relatively good fortune.  A massive tornado threatened Tuscaloosa, Alabama last night. That city was devastated by a huge tornado exactly three years and one day earlier. This time, the huge tornado missed the heart of the city.

A massive tornado late last night was aimed at the heart of Birmingham, Alabama, and it appeared hundreds of people could die since it was heading toward a very populated area late at night, when people were asleep and unaware.
A huge tornado in Louisville Mississippi on Monday  

It's unclear whether the massive supercells eventually stabilized the atmosphere enough to prevent a total repeat of Monday, but it's clear the area will have at least some tornadoes today.

Flooding is a problem, too, as torrential rains from these thunderstorms are dropping inches of rain. So people whose homes were untouched by tornadoes might still see their homes wrecked by water.

The flooding risk this week extends all the way north into the Middle Atlantic States.

The base cause of this mess is a massive storm that's been almost stalled across the middle of the nation. It will only slowly move on, and give the nation a break from its destructive tentacles toward the weekend.

Here are some videos:

In a widely viewed scene, workers at a Tupulo television station hastily take cover as a tornado bears down:




A tornado along a highway in Louisville, Mississippi:




A web cam captures a big late night tornado in Bessemer, Alabama:



Monday, April 28, 2014

Nation's Tornado Nightmare Continues Today, Tomorrow

Destructive, deadly tornadoes continued raking much of the nation's midsection and south yesterday and overnight, and as dawn broke today, the danger continued.  
The giant, deadly tornado churning through
Mayflower, Arkansas Sunday evening.  

The worst tornado so far was one that took a long track through central and northern Arkansas.

It was chilling to, from my very safe perch in Vermont, watch a live feed of television station KTHV in Little Rock try to warn people in towns like Mayflower, Vilonia and El Paso, Arkansas take shelter from the approaching monster tornado.

Simultaneously, I had the Arkansas State Police scanner on, and moments after KTHV warned these towns of the storm, you'd hear dispatchers and police sending ambulances and rescue vehicles to these very towns that had been warned.

However, the tornado was so strong and wide in many cases, taking shelter might not have saved people, especially if they didn't have a basement.

And somebody posted a disturbing video on Twitter that showed destroyed cars and screaming, injured people on Interstate 40 in Arkansas after the tornado crossed the highway. Police said miraculously, nobody died on the highway.

At least 18 people died in the tornadoes, most of them in the Arkansas tornado or in another one that Quapaw, Oklahoma.  
From @Amy_Hawley via Twitter, a tornado flings
debris in Baxter Springs, Kansas on Sunday.  

Another wave of severe thunderstorms slammed the tornado ravaged part of Arkansas hours after the original huge twister hit. Flash flooding is also now a threat in the tornado zone.

Earlier Sunday evening, my heart sank as reports of a large, dangerous tornado was approaching Joplin, Missouri, which was devastated with a huge tornado that killed about 160 people in May, 2011.

That tornado, while spreading destruction and death, pretty much missed Joplin.

I'm afraid there might be more deaths today, as more strong tornadoes are likely in the Deep South and southern Ohio Valley today.

We'd been lucky this year up until now with tornadoes in the United States.

I guess our luck has run out.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Extreme Weather In The U.S. Today: Tornadoes, Floods, Wind, Snow

From @stormchaser4850 via Twitter, a tornado
im Elizabeth City, N.C. turned one house on its
side while barely touching the home next door. 
I probably shouldn't have grumbled when I woke up this Sunday morning in St. Albans, Vermont and found a surprise dusting of snow in my gardens and yard.

Yeah, April 27 is pretty late for snow. A departing storm system brought in some cold air, changing the rain to snow.

But compared to much of the rest of the country, my (rapidly melting) spring snow is no problem.

As has been advertised for days, an outbreak of severe weather will really get going today and continue into Monday and Tuesday.

The storm that will bring tornadoes to the Midwest today
dumped snow in Flagstaff, Arizona over the weekend.
Photo by Keri Miller Boothe, via AZCentral.com  
Already, there were severe thunderstorms in central Oklahoma and Kansas as dawn broke Sunday. That there are such strong, developing storms this early in the day hints at what's to come. Expect to hear news of really bad tornadoes, especially around Arkansas and Missouri later today.

Those really bad tornadoes should reach into the Deep South Monday and Tuesday.  

There were hints the storm causing the expected tornadoes would be strong. Very gusty winds and dust storms hit parts of New Mexico and western Texas. A few severe thunderstorms popped up in central Texas and western Oklahoma.  

Storm clouds over Wichita Falls, Texas Saturday evening,
from @TornadoTitans, via Twitter.  
And Flagstaff, Arizona was hit by a spring snowstorm.

Tornadoes aren't the only hazard with the sprawling storm in the nation's midsection over the next few days. Severe flooding from heavy rain is possible in Mississippi and surrounding areas early in the week.    

Winter storm warnings for heavy snow are up for parts of Colorado and Wyoming.  

The storm system will eventually head east, spreading its severe weather into the southeastern United States.

Where I live in Vermont and in the rest of the Northeast, again, we shouldn't complain. We'll get an extended period of rain and showers starting Wednesday

There could be enough rain to cause some flooding in the Mid-Atlantic states at the end of the week, but there will be just a few days of dreariness more to the north.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

North Carolina Tornadoes Just The Start: Several Days of Tornadoes Due

There were at least eight reports of tornadoes in North Carolina Friday, which was the opening salvo of what looks to be may be the worst outbreak of severe weather in the United States this year.
A tornado in Green County, North Carolina Friday.  

At least 15 people were hospitalized and around 140 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, according to AccuWeather.

The North Carolina storms were part of an initial storm system that is slowly trudging off the East Coast this weekend.

The storm will spread rain through New England and other parts of the Northeast today, but there will be no more severe weather from this system.

However, a much bigger storm is brewing in the High Plains. The first of the severe storms should fire up today in a long, skinny line in the High Plains from Texas to South Dakota. Enormous hail, high winds, and maybe a few tornadoes will get going this evening in that neck of the woods.

Sunday, the threat intensifies, and strong tornadoes are possible, especially in areas around northeast Texas, eastern Oklahoma and most of Arkansas.

This storm is a slow mover, so more strong tornadoes are possible in the lower Mississippi Valley Monday, and in the Deep South Tuesday.  Let's hope the biggest tornadoes roar through open fields and rural areas, and miss any towns.

You'll surely hear about this bad outbreak of tornadoes and severe storms in the news. High winds, huge hail and quite a bit of flooding are also likely with this.

Up here where we are in the Northeast: Yes, that storm system will get here by the end of the week, but by then, it'll just be rain. Although there might end up being strong thunderstorms from the Mid-Atlantic Coast on south by then, up in New England, early indications are it won't be anything extreme when it gets here.

Here's a YouTube package with still photos and some video of Friday's North Carolina tornadoes.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Beautiful, Awesome Time Lapse Of Kansas Supercell Storm

Australian Sky and Weather posted this video on YouTube that is a time lapse of a supercell thunderstorm near Minneola, Kansas.

You can see the storm developing and rotating. Supercells often produce tornadoes, but not always. This storm did not drop a twister.

But it is mesmerizing to watch:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Don't Let The Showers Fool You: Fire Danger Is High

We just endured a flood last week. The soil out there is still damp and wet. It rained in much of of the Northeast the past couple of days. There was even hail and thunderstorms on Cape Cod Wednesday.  
A firefighter works to extinguish a forest fire
near Bristol, Vermont last spring. The fire
danger is high again in the Northeast today.  

No need to worry about brush and wildfires here fire, right?

Wrong, wrong WRONG! Very wrong.

This time of year, there's lots of dry, dead stuff from last summer. Things haven't really greened up yet, so that dry, dead stuff can fuel dangerous brush and forest fires.

And never mind that it rained yesterday or the day before. This stuff dries out quickly in the April sun. (There's no leaves on the trees yet to shade this dry dead material in the fields and on forest floors. )

All it takes is weather like that forecast today and you can get big fires quickly.  Those fires can spread to houses and other buildings pretty fast.  We had days last spring when forest and brush fires damaged a couple buildings in Vermont, and threatened many more.

Across the Northeast, it's going to be sunny and windy today. The humidity is going to be very low.  Sometimes, in April, humidity here can drop to desert-like levels because there is no foliage to add moisture to the air.

The result is, there is a very high fire danger across most spots from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont all the way down into the Mid-Atlantic states.  Red flag warnings and special weather statements are up across the region warning of the fire danger.

Today is NOT the day to burn your brush pile. Or carelessly throw cigarette butts out your car window. Or for children to play with matches.

These fires can get surprisingly big and fast. Just the other day near St. Johnsbury, Vermont, despite rain a few days earlier, a nine-acre brush fire threatened electric transmission lines and a neighborhood

So, don't be careless with fire. And let that brush pile sit until it rains again. Which will probably be this weekend.

More Beautiful Photos Of Giant Plains Thunderstorms

The opening salvo of a week's worth of severe weather broke out last night in the High Plains of West Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Michael Charnick,  @charnick_wx on Twitter
posted this shot of a thunderstorm in Kansas.  

This was really a good batch of severe storms, in that there were no reported tornadoes. (Although some of the supercells attempted, but failed to produce tornadoes)

Cory Mottice shot this supercell in
southwestern Kansas
There were reports of damage from high winds and hail, luckily, most of the strongest storms hit lightly populated areas.

The usual horde of storm chasers were out with their cameras and video recorders, and this post has some of what they came back with.

These storms can be deadly, but there's no arguing that they're absolutely beautiful and dramatic.








Underneath these storms, things weren't as beautiful, but certainly at least as dramatic. Here's StormChasingVideo's view of a hail-choked supercell in Harmon County, Oklahoma:


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TV Weatherman Dies of Laughter During Boring Forecast

Judging from the graphic on the weather report during a WGRZ newscast in Buffalo, New York, the forecast indicated some pretty ho-hum weather for the following few days.
The VERY happy WGRZ weatherman
Andy Parker  

But weatherman Andy Parker was amused. Either by the boring weather or something (presumably) hilarious somebody said off camera.

The giggles, however, were in the Catagory 5 zone, and I wonder if any viewer actually figured out whether they should take an umbrellla with them or not.

Watch:


Will The Nation's Good Luck With Tornadoes in 2014 Run Out This Weekend

After arguably the worst year for tornadoes in the nation's history in combined terms of death and destruction in 2011, the years 2012 and 2013, and so far 2014 have been comparatively painless in the tornado department.
A deadly EF5 tornado sweeps through Moore, OK in May, 2013.
Luckily such strong tornados have been relatively
rare for the past year, but that could change this weekend.  

That's not to diminish the terrible effects of deadly tornado outbreaks in March 2012 in the Ohio Valley, May, 2013 in and around Oklahoma; and in the Midwest in November, 2013.

Those outbreaks spread incredible pain and tragedy in the areas they hit.

But still, the number and breadth of deadly tornadoes was below normal.

So far in 2014, nobody in the United States has died in a tornado, so we've broken the record for the latest first tornado death of the year for any year.  (The old record for the first tornado death was April 21, 2003 in Illinois.

Plus there hasn't been an EF3 or stronger tornado in the United States yet this year. That breaks the record for the latest first occurence of a strong tornado in the nation. An EF3 tornado has winds of between 111 and 135 mph.

Our luck with tornadoes looks like it will probably run out this weekend. Forecasters are increasingly confident of an outbreak of tornadoes Saturday through Monday in the Great Plains and southern Mississippi Valley.

It's starting to look like some of those tornadoes might be strong, as all the weather patterns seem to be coming together to produce those dangerous storms.

There might be a some severe weather, and maybe a tornado or two today through Friday out in that part of the nation, but watch out starting Saturdy.

We can hope the tornadoes that form this weekend spin up over open country, yieldiing dramatic videos from storm chasers, but no destruction to houses, or death to anybody.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

World Kept On Heating Up In March

The National Climatic Data Center released their March global analysis this week, and determined that on a worldwide scale, March, 2014 was the fourth warmest on record.  
Most of the world was warm in March, 2014.
In much of North America, not so much.  


That might come as shocking news to people living here in Vermont, which endured its coldest March on record.

The northeastern United States and southeastern Canada with Vermont as the bullseye, was really the only place on earth that was much colder than normal.

Overall the first quarter of the year on earth, January through March, was the 7th warmest such period on record. That's almost a little surprising, since February was only the 21st warmest on record.

But January and March scored in the top five warmest this year, bringing up the average.

There are signs the heat could really turn on across the globe as we go through the rest of 2014. There are increasing signs that a strong El Nino is developing, one that could possibly be as strong as the epic 1998 El Nino. That one is considered the benchmark for biggest, warmest El Ninos.

An El Nino is a periodic warming of the sea surface in the eastern Pacific Ocean. El Ninos tend to disrupt weather patterns, and also jack up the worldwide average temperature.  If this El Nino is as strong as predicted, some months later this year might be the warmest ever recorded.

El Ninos can also be bad because they can make extreme storms develop in parts of the world. On the bright side, strong El Ninos often suppress hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, which would make the East Coast of the U.S. somewhat less likely to get blasted by one of those hurricanes come this fall.

If April Showers Bring May Flowers, Then Gardens Will Look GREAT This Year

After a long winter that extended right through March, it's nice to see things starting to green up here in Vermont.
Plants are finally starting to come up in
my perennial gardens in St. Albans, Vermont
after a long, cold winter. April showers will
encourage these flowers even more.  

Temperatures were near 70 degrees Monday, which was nice. And now we have frequent bouts of showers to contend with.

In fact, here in the North Country, it looks like it could rain every day for the next week except for probably Thursday.

If April showers bring May flowers, this perennial gardens are going to look awesome.

Don't worry, it won't rain all the time, and we won't get drowning downpours. These are April showers, after all, not April monsoons.

Flooding won't be a worry, except along Lake Champlain, which has been above flood stage for a week now.

As of yesterday, the Lake Champlain lake level was at 100.48 feet above sea level, which is about half a foot above flood stage. This is a rather minor flood, not like the disaster of 2011.

The rains over the next week will slow the rate at which the water level in Lake Champlain will fall, but it won't really worsen the flooding.

Elsewhere in the nation, those April showers could become highly unwelcome violent thunderstorms. This year has been blessedly slow in the tornado department in the United States. There has been some, and there have been a lot of hailstorms and severe winds.

But no terrible, destructive, widespread tornado outbreaks. That, unfortunately could change by the end of the week or the weekend, as signs are starting to point toward a lot of tornados in and near Oklahom, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas.

We'll see if that develops.

Back here in Vermont,  temperatures won't be all that warm over the next week, though Saturday could be decently mild. But, with the frequent showers (and maybe a rumble of thunder today) the slow green up of the Vermont landscape will continue.

Yeah, the trees won't be in leaf for a little while yet, but at least their budding. And the grass is turning green. And were those daffodils I saw blooming yesterday

It even smells like spring out there.

I'm SO glad it's here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Storm Chasers Capture Storms With Scariest Clouds Ever in N. Texas

Supercell thunderstorms erupted in the Texas panhandle and southwestern Oklahoma on Easter Sunday, something that happens a lot this time of year.
Ben Holcomb, whose Twitter handle is @wx8ben captured
these amazing supercell storm cloud formations. 

The worst of the storms were focused near and east of Childress, Texas.

 A small tornado in open country caused little if any damage in southwestern Oklahoma. Baseball sized hail in Childress DID cause damage, as you might imagine.

Up to four inches of rain with some of the storms also caused some local flash flooding.

The storms were noteworthy for their impressive, wild and scary looking clouds, as you can see from the photos and video in this post, gleaned from Twitter and YouTube.
Juston Drake, on Twitter as @JustonStrmRider, also
captured some incredible clouds.  

StormChasingVideo got some great shots in their video that went up on YouTube overnight.

















Sunday, April 20, 2014

Microbursts: Beautiful, Deadly Thunderstorm Winds (Storm Video!)

Now that we're getting into thunderstorm season, we not only have to worry about tornadoes in the United States, but something called microbursts.
That ball shaped feature below the dark clouds in
this photo is a microburst rapidy heading toward
the ground. whoever was underneat it probably
got incredible winds of over hurricane force.  

You might have heard of them, those awful windstorms in thunderstorms. The name"microburst" sounds innocuous enough, like maybe a small balloon popping.

But microbursts winds in worst case scenarios can reach 150 mph and cause worse damage than many tornadoes.

"Dry microbursts" common in the western United States, happen when rain falls into warm, dry air. The dry air becomes much more dense as it cools, so it sinks really, really fast to the ground, and you get a microburst.

"Wet microbursts" more common in the east, come when the up and down motion in a bad thunderstorm combines with torrential rain and hail dragging air at high speeds to the surface.

Microbursts are especially dangerous to aircraft, because they an slap planes to the ground or cause turbulence that's so bad they crash.

Pictures and videos of microbursts can be gorgeous, especially with today's easy time lapse technology.

Here's one near Chandler, Arizona in 2013. Note how you can see the spot in the clouds from where the violent downdraft comes:




Here's a neat microburst time lapse in 2011, near the Abilene, Texas airport. Note how violently the burst of falling air seems. That's why these are so dangerous for planes:





Finally, here's what it looks like when you get caught in one on the ground.  This is a 2011 wet microburst in Ocean City, New Jersey. Scary!




Finally, here's a pretty dramatic wet microburst I filmed in Shelburne, Vermont in August, 2011. I was in the right place at the right time. Just a mile either way up the road, there was no wind damage. Proves that microbursts are highly local

Hail Of A Time In El Paso, Texas

Yesterday, some thunderstorms with incredible hail blasted through the El Paso, Texas area.

Hail is pretty common in strong thunderstorms this time of year, but this is something. That's not snow or sleet in the neighborhood in the video, below, but hail:

Although there was a lot of hail, most of the individual hail stones weren't big enough to cause much damage.

Friday, April 18, 2014

If The River's Flooding, Go Kayaking, Say Vermont Crazies

Don't try this at home, kiddies!

While rivers in Vermont flooded during the snowmelt and heavy rain earlier this week, a bunch of kayakers decided to take advantage of the raging Mad River in central Vermont to go kayaking.

These people are experts, so there's that. But please don't get any ideas. If the water's high and cold, stay out. Enjoy it vicariously, through this video. It is fun and fascinating to watch:


Nice Thing About Spring Snow Is It Melts Fast

There's still a little snow on the ground at my house in St. Albans, Vermont this morning, two days after a mid-April dump of 3.5 inches of new powder interrupted spring.
By late Thursday, only a little bit of the snow that fell
Tuesday night remained in my St Albans, Vermont yard.

But the rest will go today amid temperatures in the low 50s. The nice thing about spring snow is it melts fast under a strong sun.

To demonstrate, here's a cool time lapse video taken in April 2013 in Northfield, Minn. It shows 10 inches of April snow disappearing in 72 hours.

So, for areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin that got anywhere from six up to 20 inches of snow yesterday, there's hope spring will return.

Just watch the video:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meanwhile, In Chile, A Terrible Wildfire Kills At Least Four

We in the Northeast United States should count our blessings that we've been dealing with flooding, snow and cold.
Valparaiso, Chile burns, as you can see
in this Reuters photo. 

The Chilean coastal city of Valparaiso is mourning the dead and tallying the damage after a massive wildfire swept the city in recent days.

The fire killed 15 people and destroyed about 3,000 homes. 

Dry conditions and strong winds blowing off the hills toward the Pacific Ocean prevented firefighters from gaining control of the blaze.

A lot of destroyed homes were on steep hills with very narrow streets, making firefighting and evacuations all the more difficult.

Thick smoke has caused many people to suffer smoke inhalation, says the BBC.

So we've got another big weather related disaster in a string of calamities that have hit different parts of the globe so far this year.

Here's some videos of the disaster:



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Odd Snow On Ground To Contribute To Tonight's Record Chill

Here in northern Vermont this afternoon's temperature barely made it to the freezing mark, despite bright sunshine.
By late afternoon Wednesday, despite abundant sunshine
little of the 3.5 inches of snow that fell on St. Albans
Tuesday evening had melted.  

That's at least 20 degrees below normal, and it was so cold that the snow that fell last night didn't really melt.

The air that's cold to start with, the clear skies, plus the unusual April snow cover, is setting Vermont and other parts of the Northeast up for a record cold night.

Since it was so cold, the temperature does not have that far to fall to achieve record lows. That the sky is clear means what little heat is out there can radiate out to space.

And snow cover, common in January but not so much in April, helps prevent meager warmth coming out of the ground from influcing nighttime temperatures.

So, it's going to be in the teens tonight in northern New England. Some towns will get into the winter like single numbers.

Actually, in Burlington, Vermont, tomorrow's record low is 13 degrees, the coldest for so late in the season. So the Queen City might not achieve a record low, but then again, it might. I'm sure we'll hear of other record lows in the Northeast tomorrow morning.

Luckily, spring isn't that far advanced. The few green shoots that have emerged from the ground already are pretty tough, and can withstand temperatures in the low teens. They'll survive. More tenxer plants haven't come up out of the ground yet, so they'll be fine

The good news is this cold snap won't last. A southwesterly breeze will bring temperatures into the 40s and low 50s tomorrow. That's still a little below normal, but not bad, and it will melt the snow.

Between the southwesterly winds, the warmer daytime temperatures and the fact the snow will have disappeared, tomorrow night won't be so cold.

And spring will resume and continue into next week. The past day or two was an unpleasant review visit to winter, but it was blessedly brief.


Flooding Starting To Recede, But Still A Mess This Morning

Except in the lower reaches of the rivers and in Lake Champlain, water is beginning to recede this morning following a pretty nasty spring flood, but a lot of roads remain closed in New York, New Hampshire and especially Vermont this morning.
This motorist steered around a
"road closed" sign in Enosburg,
Vermont Tuesday and started
to drive across flooded Boston Post
Road, then thought the better of it
and backed out. Good thing.  

The level of flooding, which closed dozens of roads, had been expected for days, enabling people to prepare for it, but there's only so much you can do.

Worse, the abrupt turn to winter has turned the roads not affected by flooding into a slow mess for this morning's commute. Between the detours around high water and the ice, expect it to take awhile to get to work.

The flooding reached beyond the minor catagory into the level of moderate and even major, according to the National Weather Service in South Burlington. Water crept into towns like Jeffersonville and Cambridge along the Lamoille River, for instance.

There were warnings in Montpelier, Vermont yesterday for businesses to remove items from basements, and the city closed some parking lots that were endangered by flooding. However, Winooski River water didn't get as high in Montpelier as first feared.

I'm sure there have been some houses and businesses damaged by at least basement flooding elsewhere in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire

Most of the roads that are closed by high water this morning are in the Champlain Valley, in the lower reaches of the rivers where the crest is heading to Lake Champlain.

And now there's a flood warning for Lake Champlain, as all that water flows into the lake. Early Wednesday morning, the lake water level was 99.6 feet above sea level and rising fast. It should go above the flood stage of 100 feet later today.  

Lake Champlain flooding lasts a long time, and the lake water will continue rising for the rest of the week.  Forecasts indicate the lake could reach 100.7 feet by Friday. If it gets windy, battering waves could start to cause damage to roads, camps and houses when the lake gets that high.
Water from the flooding Lamoille River surrounds
 a house in Cambridge, Vermont on Tuesday.  

The lake level should start falling again next week unless we get a pretty decent amount of rain.

Speaking of a decent amount of rain, that was true yesterday. Most of northern New York, Vermont and a good chunk of New Hampshire and Maine got between one and two inches of rain.

Burlington, Vermont got 1.67 inches of rain, breaking the record rainfall for the date of 1.41 set in 1942.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont also had a record rainfall for the date of 1.63 inches.

The snow is yet another issue. Burlington, Vermont got 2.6 inches of snow later yesterday, and there's 3.5 inches of new snow outside my door in St. Albans, Vermont. Such mid-April snowstorms are somewhat rare in the North Country but certainly not unheard of.

The amount of snow that fell in Burlington was not even a record for the date. And on April 17, 1983, Burlington got 11.3 inches of snow. So the white landscape this morning is disheartening for fans of spring, but not that out of the ordinary.

Temperatures early today are in the teens and low 20s, so yes, the roads are icy.
Water from the flooding Lamoille River surges
across Route 15 in Cambridge, Vermont on Tuesday.  

The good news in all this is, aside from Lake Champlain, the flooding will gradually end today. And this winter like cold wave will last only 24 hours or so before spring returns.

True, it will only get into the mid 30s today and temperatures will fall to near record teens tonight.

However, starting Thursday afternoon and continuing through the weekend and on into early next week, normal spring temperatures in the 50s and low 60s.

And although more rain is in the forecast over the weekend it looks like it will come in the form of scattered, rather light showers, and not be enough to set off more flooding.

You can start enjoying spring again soon. Bring it on!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

March Was Officially Vermont's Coldest On Record

The National Climate Data Center came out today with their monthly analysis of the nation's weather in the previous month.
Lake Street in St. Albans, Vermont
looked like something out
of the Arctic on March 13, 2014.
March was the coldest on
record in Vermont, according
to the National Climate Data Center  

The data showed that Vermont had its coldest March on record, with a mean temperature of 18.3, or 8.9 degrees below normal.

Individual towns in Vermont might not have had the coldest March on record, (Burlington was only fourth coldest), but if you take the state as a whole, it was the coldest.

What with the planet heating up, it's become quite rare for a state to record its coldest month. It's still rare for states to record their hottest month, but not as rare as the coldest.

The problem with March was a persistent flow of air from the northwest wouldn't quit all during the month.

And Vermont seemed to be always in the path of the coldest core of the frigid air from the North Pole that kept flooding the eastern half of the nation.

Maine and New Hampshire had their second coldest March on record.

For the nation as a whole, it was the coldest March since 2002, so irt wasn't anything horribly extreme.

For Vermonters pining for spring, at least March's frigid trend ended as April came along. The month is average a little warmer than normal so far, and the state was treated to temperatures in the 70s to low 80s yesterday.

True, it's going to snow in Vermont later today and tonight, but this cold wave won't last long like the one in March did. By Friday and the weekend, near normal temperatures in the 50s are forecast.

I, for one, don't want to see another record cold month in Vermont. I think we've all had enough.

Floods, Wild Weather Changes For Vermont, Rest of Northeast Today

As you drive to work this morning, you'll notice that you pretty much didn't need your jacket, that it was almost a summer-like start to this Tuesday.
As I've been writing about this week's flood potential over
the past few days, I've been running photos of the last
big spring flood in 2011, like this wash load ruined by the
Missisquoi River near Berkshire, Vemont. .After today and
tomorrow, I'll probably have fresh flood photos from April, 2014.  

I really, really hope you brought your jacket with you, though. You'll need it for your return trip home. It will get cold.

Plus, you might have already had to go around a detour or to due to flooded roads this morning.

That kind of flood avoidance is even more likely this afternoon as already high water gets even higher.

It's going to be a wild weather day.  Expect flooding rains, strong winds, temperatures that will fall unbelievably fast, and an accumulation of snow later on.

Flood watches continue for much of the interior northeast, including New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. In many spots, those flood watches have already turn to warnings, which means some flooding has already started. Rivers across New York and Vermont are already climbing over their banks due to yesterday's near record, summer like warmth and last night's showers.

It's windy out there, too. Especially in the Champlain Valley. A wind advisory is up because gusts will probably reach 50 mph later this morning and early this afternoon. A few branches and power lines could come down.

With warmth and more scattered showers this morning, then a burst of drenching rains on its way for a rendezvous with New York and western New England later this morning and afternoon, things will definitely get worse out there.

The one to two inches of rain we'll get from this strong, strong cold front coming in wouldn't normally be that big a deal, but with rivers already flooding, the flooding will get intensify, in some spots beyond the usual "Farmer John's hayfield next to the creek is under water again."

A lot of roads in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire will be blocked by flood waters by this afternoon and tonight, and the water might get high enough in some areas of the region to damage houses and businesses. At least some basements will turn into swimming pools.

So be careful out there. Especially tonight, on the roads, when it's dark and snowing and and icy and you can't see flood waters almost until you drive into them.

Yes, I said that dirty four letter word.  Snow. When the cold front comes through at midday, or this afternoon if you're more toward the east in New Hampshire, temperatures will fall as much as 20 degrees in less than an hour. Then they'll keep falling and the rain will turn to snow.

Expect a dusting to an inch tonight in the Champlain Valley, and 1 to 4 inches across much of the rest of northern New York, Vermont and parts of New Hampshire.

Leave some extra time to get to work Wednesday morning. With the snow and temperatures around 20 degrees, the roads will probably be icy. Yes, I KNOW it's mid-April and that shouldn't be happening, but this is the North Country.

Deal with it.

We're not the only ones feeling the chill. A vast section of the nation from Texas through the South and the Mid Atlantic Coast, and Ohio Valley, are under a freeze warning tonight. Gardens and crops are in over there and it's going to get below freezing tonight in that huge section of the country.

So, expect some crop losses because of that.  (Here in the North Country, plants have not budded enough to suffer any real damage from the teens and 20s expected tonight and Wednesday night_

Parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin are under a winter storm watch as that region could get up to a foot of snow tomorrow.  In International Falls, Minnesota this morning, it was 6 degrees above zero. Not the kind of April I want.

On the bright side, the Return of Winter, 2014 won't last very long.  The South will turn balmy over the next few days, and the Midwest snow will melt over the weekend.

Here in Vermont, It'll be a blustery, cold Wednesday with temperatures in many spots not rising out of the 30s with a gusty northwest wind. But at least the sun will come out in the afternoon.

After a bitingly cold Wednesday night, Thursday won't be bad with readings popping back up to near 50. And the weekend up in this neck of the woods looks seasonably mild, with temperatures in the 50s, and scattered showers. But no flooding rains.

After the extreme weather of today and Wednesday, the boring weather we're expecting this weekend is going to be a real treat.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Not Much Flooding Yet In Vermont, But Threat Continues

The weather in Vermont early Monday morning was all over the place. Steady south winds in a few places, like Bennington and St. Albans, were keeping temperatures in the 50s to low 60s in those areas before dawn.  
Through Wednesday morning, some of roads you normally
take to and from work might be flooded in Vermont
and surrounding states. Be prepared to take some detours.  

In valleys, where the wind is skipping over the low lands and winds are calm temperatures have dropped into the 30s.

Shortly after dawn, the wind will have scoured out the chilly air in the valleys and pretty much everyone in Vermont and northern New England will be headed toward the 70s today.

As we've been saying, that will increase the pace of snowmelt from the mountains. Then the rains of Tuesday will add to that even more.

So far, despite some relative warmth and showers on Sunday, rivers and streams have pretty much been behaving. There have only been reports of minor flooding. So far we have:

  • Minor flooding along the Coventry River near Barton, Vermont


  • Minor flooding along the East Branch of the Ausable River in the eastern Adirondacks of New York. 


  • Minor flooding, which could intensify to moderate level flooding, along the Scroon River in the southern Adirondacks of New York.


  • I noticed some field flooding and a couple road closures in Rutland and Addison counties along the Otter Creek Sunday, which is a very frequent occurence in the spring. 

The flooding in the region will get worse today through Wednesday, but as I said yesterday, the good news is it won't turn into a cataclysm like Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.  It won't be nearly that destructive. Still, there's reason for plenty of caution.

The forecast for warmth today hasn't changed. Neither has the forecast for around an inch of rain Tuesday as the slow moving cold front trudges through.

Normally, an inch of rain isn't THAT big a deal, but with rivers already near flood stage and lots of snow melt, that's enough to drive water up. So, the flooding could go from minor to moderate intensity, meaning there's a risk the water could get high enough to damage homes and businesses in a few areas.

Tuesday afternoon and night, temperatures will crash dramatically from summer to winter levels, with a dusting of snow likely in the valleys and a few inches possible in some of the mountains.

In fact, the commute to work Wednesday morning could be icy in spots, as temperatures sink down well into the 20s. Also, Wednesday morning, the flooding will not have ended yet as the runoff continues flowing down main rivers like the Otter Creek, and Winooski, Lamoille and Missisquoi Rivers.

Some of your usual commuting routes near these rivers will likely still be blocked by floodwaters Wednesday morning.  So places like North Williston Road, and maybe Route 128 in Chittenden County will have some problems through Wednesday.

While the flooding, or risk for flooding continues through Wednesday, remember that cheesy but important note the National Weather Service always talks about when roads flood: "Turn Around, Don't Drown."

At worst, driving into a flooded road can get you killed. At best, it would make you a laughing stock as your car stalls in the high water that you were too stupid to avoid.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

North Country Flood Threat Continues Today Through Wednesday

That big batch of rain I thought would be riding along a warm front into New York and Vermont was moving through, as scheduled Sunday morning.
Spring flooding blocked Route 7 in Milton, Vermont
in April, 2011. It remains to be seen if river levels
will get this high over the next few days.  

The northern thirds of these two states should get up to three quarters of an inch of rain today, though most places will get less than that.

But the rain, combined with warm temperatures and melting snow, should be enough to trigger minor flooding by evening.

The rain should slowly taper off, south to north today. In the meantime, you might even hear a few rumbles of thunder of this one.

This first round of flooding should be minor with fields, low roads and maybe a few basements getting flooded.

The overall forecast hasn't changed since yesterday. Very warm weather Monday, with temperatures well into the 70s, will cause rapid snowmelt from the mountains, keeping rivers high. And we're still expecting some pretty heavy rains Tuesday, which would really make rivers rise.

So, the flood watch continues now through Wednesday in northern New York and Vermont. As they stated yesterday, the National Weather Service in South Burlington does NOT expect anything along the lines of the Tropical Storm Irene Disaster of 2011.

But still, the water in rivers like the Chazy and Ausable in New York, and many rivers in Vermont could get higher than the usual spring lowland flooding.

If you live or work near these rivers, I'd continue to spend this rather rainy Sunday moving personal items, or if you own a business, backstock out of basements or other places where they could get damaged.

The flooding will continue into Wednesday as the runoff goes into the main stem rivers like the Lamoille and Winooski.

After the summer like warmth of Monday, we're in for one of winter's last gasps Tuesday night and Wednesday. I'm betting Vermont valleys will get a coating of snow, with mountains getting a few inches.

But spring will return later in the week with near normal temperatures in the 50s.

More to the west, heavy rain moved through Michigan last night (that's the burst of rain entering New England now) and more heavy rain was moving back into that state Sunday morning.   Flood warnings are up in much of Michigan, and a lot of rivers there will go over their banks today.

Actually, rough weather is in store for much of the nation today. Severe thunderstorms are likely in Tornado Alley, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. There will probably be a few tornadoes, but the biggest threat today is hail.  It seems like there's been a lot of nasty hailstorms in the nation this spring, and today could bring hail the size of baseballs to some areas.

Hail can be more destructive than tornadoes. For instance an intense hail storm that hit the St. Louis metro area in April, 2012 caused $1.6 billion (with a B) in damage.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, a snowstorm is brewing today. Expect around 5 inches of snow around Denver today.

And in much of New Mexico and West Texas, there's the threat of rangeland fires and local dust storms today.

I guess the wide variety of spring weather never quits, does it?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Evening Flood Update: Vermont, New York, Michigan Under The Gun

You'd never know it if you were outside in northern Vermont today, but a cold front settled into the region.
Spring flooding gets close to a house near
Enosburg, Vermont in April, 2011.  

It stayed gorgeous, with sunshine and temperatures near 60. All the front did was subtlely shift the wind from the south to the west, and slowed the pace of rising temperatures a little bit.

That front is stalling, and people in northern New York and northern New England are actually going to really start noticing that wimpy front that arrived on the scene Saturday afternoon.

The front will go from wimpy to at least semi-wild. Showers and springtime's first thunderstorms will ride west to east along the front Sunday as the front itself slowly works its way back north toward Quebec.

This can turn into a dicey situation, believe it or not. In the spring, these slow fronts, separating the first surge of summery air to the south and seasonably chilly air to the north can squeeze out a lot of rain.

The most extreme example I can remember of this kind of west to east front in the Northeast was in late April, 2011. A huge tornado outbreak was brewing over the southern United States, and it was hot and humid down there. To the north of the front, it was cool and damp.

Along this front, wave after wave of strong thunderstorms passed over Vermont, armed with heavy downpours, vivid lightning and torrential bursts of hail.  (You can see a video of the one of the thunderstorms from this outbreak, on April 26, 2011 as it pelted my deck in St. Albans, Vermont with TONS of hail)

This combined with warm temperatures and a lot of snowmelt, caused some very damaging floods in northern Vermont, especially along the Lamoille River.

I don't expect anything that extreme Sunday, but I still wonder if the front will inspire showers and storms that will dump more than the quarter to two thirds of an inch of rain that is forecast on Sunday.

All this could start to trigger flooding across the Adirondacks, northern Vermont and northern New Hampshire by Sunday afternoon.   Areas more to the south will be away from the front, so it won't rain as much and flooding won't be quite as big a worry. (Still, watch for lowland flooding as early as Sunday along the Otter Creek in Rutland County.)

As of late Saturday afternoon, some pretty heavy downpours have developed in Michigan, where there are flood watches. These are some of the storms that are expected to hit northern New York and northern New England Sunday.

By Monday, the front will have lifted into Quebec and near record temperatures will come in. Towns like Burlington and Rutland, Vermont and Glens Falls and Albany, N.Y. could reach 80 degrees. There probably will be little if any rain on Monday, but such warm temperatures will really melt snow of the mountain sides fast, keeping river levels high.

Finally, on Tuesday, we're still expecting that slow moving cold front to come through New England. If the rain and thunderstorms with that front are as heavy as some forecasts indicate, there could be some substantial flooding.

It probably wouldn't be anything on the level of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, but the water could get high enough  Tuesday to cause some damage.

As they keep saying, pay attention to future forecasts and possible warnings.

I'll offer an update first thing Sunday morning.


Flood Threat Rising In Vermont, Surrounding Areas Now Through Wednesday

It's going to be a gorgeous April Saturday here in Vermont with sun and temperatures reaching the low 60s.  
Raging floodwaters crash through trees along
the Lamoille River in Cambridge, Vermont during
spring flooding in April, 2011. Similar scenes
are possible in Vermont, New York and New
Hampshire early next week. 

And that is the beginning of some problems.

Yes, I'm being a killjoy for going negative on some well deserved springlike weather, but today's warmth will help set the stage for what could be some fairly substantial flooding.

Most of the snow is gone from Vermont valley floors, but there's still quite a bit in the mountains.

It's been warm the past few days. Some snow has melted and rivers have risen.

That trend toward rising rivers will continue, starting today and continuing over the next few days as it gets warmer and warmer and rain enters the picture.

The National Weather Service in South Burlinton has got Vermont and northern New York under a flood watch through Wednesday.

It looks like any flooding this weekend won't be too serious. Just the usual low lying fields and low spots on local roads could go under water. But things could get much worse Monday and Tuesday, and maybe into Wednesday.

Here's what the flood watch says:

THE POTENTIAL FOR MORE SIGNIFICANT FLOODING WILL OCCUR IN THE

  MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY TIME PERIOD ON MAINSTEM RIVERS AS
  WELL AS SMALLER RIVERS AND STREAMS. ANYONE LIVING NEAR THE
  LARGER MAINSTEM RIVERS MAY WANT TO THINK ABOUT TAKING
  PRECAUTIONARY ACTIONS THIS WEEKEND TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIALLY
  SIGNIFICANT FLOODING EARLY NEXT WEEK.

On Sunday, a warm front will cross Vermont, bringing some rain, especially to northern Vermont and much warm temperatures. Clouds and rain will hold temperatures in the 60s Sunday, but they won't fall much Sunday night.

Monday turns really, really warm, with readings well up into the 70s, possibly near 80 in much of Vermont, northern New York and a good chunk of the rest of northern New England. That will get the snow in the mountains melting super fast, and river water will rise accordingly.

Then a very slow moving cold front enters the picture. Little storms will ripple south to north along the front as it slowly drifts eastward across New York and New England. With a lot of moisture to work with the front and its parade of little storms has the potential to dump 1 to 2 inches of rain across the region.

Normally, two inches of rain wouldn't cause much of a flood worry. But by the time the rain arrives, rivers will probably be nearing or even already over flood stage.

So the stage is set for something that could definitely be worse than the usual springtime lowland flooding. At least moderate flooding is a good bet, which in some areas is high enough to damage some buildings.

The worst case scenario is flooding like that in the Lamoille River basin in Vermont in late April, 2011. Then, buildings were badly damaged in flooding in a stretch from Wolcott to Cambridge.  Such flooding could happen anywhere in Vermont, and parts of New York and New Hampshire by Tuesday.

Such damaging floods aren't guaranteed, but there's a chance. So if you're in a flood prone area, I'd spend the weekend taking precautions. If you can move stuff that would get damaged in a flood, I'd do it. An example might be some store owners in Montpelier, Vermont, which is along the Winooski River.

If you have backstock in your basements, I'd get those items to upper floors now. Homeowners in floodprone areas should get stuff out of the way too. And have a plan to get out of the way pronto in case the rivers rise.

Lake Champlain waters will rise, too, though don't look for a repeat of the 2011 record flood disaster. As of Friday, the lake level was at 97.7 feet, which is a little more than two feet below minor flood stage.

Flood stage is 100 feet, and the lake could reach that level as soon as the end of  next week. At 100 feet, there's minor flooding along the lake, with some low lying roads under water, a few shoreline parks get some flooding and there's often some minor shoreline erosion if it's windy.

My guess is Lake Champlain won't go into major flood territory unless there's a lot of heavy rain later in April and in May.

After the very wet cold front goes through Tuesday night, temperatures will crash. It will snow Tuesday night and Wednesday, and maybe pile up a few inches in the mountains. Valleys might even get a coating. But that won't last long. It's April, so readings will inch toward 50 degrees by the end of the week.

I'll caution again that a serious flood early next week is not certain. We could get lucky and get less rain than forecast, or maybe it won't get as warm as predictions indicate. Then things wouldn't be so bad.  Keep watching forecasts for updates on this one.

But better safe than sorry, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flood Potential Vermont, Surrounding Areas Early Next Week

Well, spring has sprung, at least for now in Vermont and surrounding areas.
A flooded, debris strewn park in Milton, Vermont
during spring flooding in April, 2011. Similar
scenes are possible in Vermont early next week.  

The temperature reached the low 60s Thursday in Vermont, and readings will continue fairly mild today, and get warmer through the weekend.

A lot of the snow in the valleys has melted and streams are running briskly.

So far, cool nights have regulated the snowmelt, so there's only been very minor flooding so far.

That might be about to change. On Monday, a squirt of very warm air is forecast to come into New England, sending temperatures soaring well into the 70s, possibly even near 80.

While winter weary people will love that, those readings will make mountain snows melt fast, so river waters will rise.

After that, it's beginning to look like a very wet cold front will slow down to a crawl or stall over western New England. If that happens, a LOT of rain would fall on Vermont and surrounding areas. Between the snow melt and the heavy rain, there's potential for flooding.

And if we get as much rain as some forecasts indicate, the risk is the flooding could end up worse than just the nuisance water that covers fields and a few low lying roads.

It's still a little early to know for sure if we will get a lot of rain. But for those who live near rivers in Vermont, northern New York and the rest of northern New England, now's the time to think about what you can do to minimize property damage, or at least get out of the way if the high water comes.

That's just to be on the safe side.

After the front goes through, we'll get another taste of winter, with temperatures well below normal during the second half of next week, with chances of snow.

Yep, the weather continues to be changeable. And a little dangerous at times.  you can do to prepare for flooding

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lake Champlain Shores Could Get Interesting With Ice Breakup, Gusty Winds

In the Champlain Valley on Thursday, southerly winds are expected to gust over 40 mph amid temperatures that by afternoon are likely to flirt with 60 degrees.
Damage along a Canadian lake last spring
when strong winds drove a wall of thawing
ice onshore and into shoreline cabins.  

Much of the lake is still frozen, but the ice is breaking up. Which could make things on south facing shores of Lake Champlain interesting on Thursday.

The wind could push some of the ice on shore, driving heavy blocks of ice onto embankments, lawns, even roads and property.

Those waves of wind driven ice chunks could be enough to cause some property damage, if the wind indeed drives some of the ice onshore.  It could be dramatic as in spots.

I don't think it will be too destructive, certainly not as bad as in the videos, below. This was last spring when 40 mph wind gusts drove ice onshore damaging homes. Pretty scary and awesome:




The same thing happened last spring on a Canadian lake, with even more damage:


Watch Some Loud, Dramatic Hail (Glad It Wasn't My Car)

Luckily, the nation hasn't had that many tornadoes this year, compared to normal at least, and we hope the trend continues.

However, there have been lots of big hail storms this year.

Watch this one in Texas to prove you really don't want to get hit by the worst of these hailstorms. The guy who filmed said the hail reduced the resale value of his car, and I believe it:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cool Photos Show Effects Of This Year's Delayed Early Spring

Via Twitter, I found these two photos taken two years apart in the same spot in Richmond, Virginia.  

The two pics, by William T. Hark of harkphoto.com shows a street scene on March 28, 2012, after one of the warmest early springs on record.

The same spot, exactly two years later after one of the coldest early springs on record, shows things are far behind that of two years ago.

As always, click on the images to make them bigger and easier to see.

Hark, the photographer, usually concentrates on storm, tornado, wildlife and butterfly photography, but this is an interesting snapshot of how two springs can be totally different from one another.

(By the way, it's worth checking out Hark's work. Excellent images for all you nature and weather geeks out there.)

April so far has seen temperatures much closer to average along the East Coast, so spring is now progressing nicely.

The cherry blossoms in Washington DC should be nearing their peak soon, and even in my icy cold location way up in northern Vermont, most of the snow has finally melted off my yard.

And are those green shoots coming up in warm, sunny corners?  Bring it on!

Wild Conspiracy Theory Of Week: El Nino Predictions To Screw India Economy?

A lot of climate forecasters are saying that a strong El Nino might be brewing in the eastern Pacific Ocean.  
No, predictions of an impending El Nino are
not an effort to screw over India, despitew
what the head of that country's meteorological office says.  

An El Nino is an area of warm water that develops off of South America, and can have worldwide effects on the weather and climate.

It can boost global temperatures and cause severe storms on some areas of the planet, along with drought in places like Indonesia, Australia and India.

The forecast of an El Nino is still uncertain, but more and more signs are developing that this could be a strong one, like the El Nino of 1998 that caused all kinds of weather disasters around the world.

Some people in India aren't buying this El Nino prediction. The India Meterological Department, says the prediction is bogus and is a plot by rich investors to get richer at the expense of India, according to the Economic Times. 

"'It is in the U.S. and Australian interests that agri commodities and stock market in India come down. They are spreading rumors. People will start hoarding and might start creating artificial scarcity of commodities. Don't heed their advice,'  said Laxman Singh Rathore, director general, IMD" 

Of course, that conspiracy theory is ridiculous, since many of the meteorlogists and climatologists making the El Nino predictions work for private firms and don't have a stake in international commodity prices.

And I don't think these scientists are conspiring among themselves to get bought off by commodities traders. Jeesh!

So we'll see if the El Nino starts later this year and whether that would cause agricultural problems in India.

And yes, not all commodities traders are wonderful people, but let's face it. Not every climate and weather event is a conspiracy.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Huge Flooding In Deep South

The weather news today concerns some severe flooding in the Deep South where three to as much as eight inches of rain fell yesterday and overnight.
Water rescues in Alabama, via @bailes32
on Twitter  

Dangerous flooding was occuring this morning near Birmingham, Alabama and other cities in the South with many water rescues.    

A nine year old girl is believed drowned in the flooding in Mississippi

There were some overnight tornadoes as well, adding to the danger in that part of the country.  Several homes in Mississippi were damaged or destroyed by the suspected twisters.

More tornado warnings popped up this afternoon in Georgia amid flood alerts there.

The storm is expected to sweep northward toward the eastern Great Lakes,  but only minor flooding is expected in New England, where rainfall will range from less than an inch across much of Vermont to more than 1.5 inches near the coast.

In northern New England, some ice jams might form along some still-frozen waterways, so watch out for that.  
On Twitter, @RyanMooreMS captured this
tornado damge in Mississippi.  

But the storm will become a quick mover once it really gets going to the north. Because of that, it won't rain for too long a period in the Northeast, meaning there won't be inches and inches of rain like in the South. Plus, there will be few if any thunderstorms in the Northeast to produce downpours.

Warm air riding north ahead of the storm brought temperatures in Burlington, Vermont to 60 degrees Monday afternoon, the first time it's been that warm since November 18,  2013.

Maybe spring is coming after all.


Again, from Twitter, @Jay_Reeve photographed
Alabama flooding